Energy

Across Europe, town and city councils are becoming increasingly interested in energy decentralization, i.e. in producing power closer to where it is consumed, which could reduce energy costs for citizens who already feel their economic backs being broken by political beliefs about alternative energy that doesn't involve nuclear.

Heidelberg is a city in Germany with a long-running energy company that has managed to keep costs lower than centralized schemes. The city-owned company is responsible for managing gas, heating, and the water and sewage systems. They even have a plan to migrate more to renewables in the future.
We power humanity mostly by burning fossil fuels, thereby turning chemical energy into heat that ultimately gets radiated into space. In doing so we achieve some results deemed useful: we cook food, we keep our homes and offices at comfortable temperatures, we watch television, listen to music, take hot showers, generate light during dark hours, and move from A to B and back. 
Today the House Committee on Ways and Means put a likely end to the production tax credit expiration for nuclear energy by approving H.R.5879 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities. Since new facilities will be public-private partnerships, and public entities can't be taxed, this was creating a lot of confusion and that meant if nothing was done, the incentive for a company to help build an expensive clean energy plant would be gone. 

Using software tools developed by the marketing group Near Zero, which has developed open-source software tools to examine where experts agree and disagree and why, a research group hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology has completed the largest expert survey yet of wind energy. 


Whatever happened to energy crops? A decade ago, the UK authorities confidently expected farmers to devote swaths of land to growing the likes of short-rotation willow and poplar and perennial grasses. These were to help feed one of the UK’s promising new renewable power sources – biomass energy, which burns plant materials to produce heat and power.

A new class of high-performing organic molecules inspired by vitamin B2 can safely store electricity from intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power in large batteries.

The high-capacity flow battery uses organic molecules called quinones, which store energy in plants and animals, and a new class of battery electrolyte material. They contend in their study that it is high-performance, non-flammable, non-toxic, non-corrosive, and its low-cost could enable large-scale, inexpensive electricity storage.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  graduate student Sara G. Rasmussen, from their Department of Environmental Health Sciences, says that people with asthma who live near bigger or larger numbers of active hydraulic fracturing (fracking) natural gas wells are 1.5 to four times likelier to have asthma attacks than those who live farther away.


A decade ago, ancient technology - using natural water to perform work - was the green goal. Today, dams are bad but now wind is back in fashion.


Solar energy wants to become an alternative source to fossil fuels but no one wants to incur the much higher cost required by continued subsidies. Rather than  trying to create large solar farms, which are invariably blocked by environmental lawsuits, the move is on to go small and avoid regulations - that means on buildings, clothes, consumer electronics and wearables. This necessitates ultra-thin film, low-cost and ideally flexible solar cells without compromising the environment during production, use, or disposal.


With generous government subsidies and a 'green' halo, wind power is enjoying a lot of financial windfalls. Meanwhile, since being gutted by the Clinton administration in 1993, nuclear energy has been blocked so that it is increasingly less viable.

For that reason, activists thought Sweden would be a good target for their efforts, because they love to tout their lack of emissions. Yet the Swedes would end up with more emissions if they added wind, according to a new paper.